STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And now let's move on to StoryCorps, as we do each Friday morning. Today, we hear a 9-year-old boy interviewing his father, just the kind of interview for which StoryCorps was created. Aiden Sykes is in fourth grade, the oldest son of 31-year-old Albert Sykes. And they sat down together at StoryCorps in Jackson, Miss.
AIDEN: Do you remember what was going through your head when you first saw me?
ALBERT SYKES: I remember when the doctor pulled you out. The first thing I thought was that he was being too rough with you. And he actually held you like a little Sprite bottle. And he was like, here's your baby. That was the most proud moment of my life. Don't tell your brothers 'cause there's three of you all. But it was like looking at a blank canvas and just imagining what you want their painting to look like at the end but also knowing you can't control the paint strokes. You know, the fear was just I got to bring up a black boy in Mississippi, which is a tough place to bring up kids, period. But there are statistics that say black boys born after the year 2002 have a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison. And all three of my sons were born after the year 2002.
AIDEN: So Dad, why do you take me to protests so much?
SYKES: (Laughter) I think I take you for a bunch of reasons. One is that I want you to see what it looks like when people come together - but also that you understand that it's not just about people that are familiar to you, but it's about everybody. Did you know the work that Martin Luther King was doing was for everybody, and it wasn't just for black people?
AIDEN: Yes, I understand that.
SYKES: Yeah. So that's how you've got to think. If you decide that you want to be a cab driver, then you've got to be the most impactful cab driver that you can possibly be.
AIDEN: Are you proud of me?
SYKES: Of course. You're my man. I just love everything about you, period.
AIDEN: The thing I love about you, you never give up on me. That's one of the things I will always remember about my dad.
SYKES: Well, you say that like I'm on the way out of here or like I'm already gone.
AIDEN: So Dad, what are your dreams for me?
SYKES: My dream is for you to live out your dreams. There's an old proverb that talks about when children are born, children come out with their fists closed because that's where they keep all their gifts. And as you grow, your hands learn to unfold because you're learning to release your gifts to the world. And so for the rest of your life, I want to see you live with your hands unfolded.
INSKEEP: Albert Sykes - don't tell your brothers, he says - with his 9-year-old son, Aiden, in Jackson, Miss. Their conversation, along with all StoryCorps interviews, will be archived at the Library of Congress. And you can hear more, including a recent TED Talk by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay on iTunes or at npr.org.
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